The writing team of Brian Andrews and Jeffery Wilson, who previously wrote together under the pseudonym of Alex Ryan for Beijing Red (released earlier this year), are back with their latest thriller, Tier One.
Former navy SEAL John Dempsey now takes his orders straight from the White House. As the leader of Task Force Ember, a covert ops unit developed to go after a group of Iranian terrorists, Dempsey seeks revenge for an attack that killed two SEAL teams.
After tracking the terrorists around the globe, Dempsey and his team discover that their next target is the UN headquarters in New York City. The question is, can they stop the bad guys in time?
Both authors have military experience, and they lean on it heavily here. The storyline is exactly what you’d expect from a military thriller. What surprised me the most was the emotional pull at Dempsey, who was once known as Jack Kemper in a previous life.
The line between bloodthirst and following orders is a bit blurred for Dempsey, as the highly-trained operator seeks revenge for his fallen comrades, but also strives to be a good soldier. That bit of character depth makes the alpha male more relatable and is a nice touch by the authors to an otherwise gung-ho, balls-to-the-wall thriller.
Casual readers may struggle with the overuse of military acronyms, where veteran readers of the genre will be just fine. To aid those who might struggle with the terminology, there’s a rather hefty glossary in the back of the book, which is a great tool that more authors should use. Also, if foul language is a problem for you, beware. The Tier One soldiers, quite literally, curse like sailors.
Another fun angle is Dempsey’s transition from combat veteran to the world of covert-ops. While there’s a lot of leading characters in fiction who complete this transition, rarely is that change highlighted as part of the actual story and character study–another thing the authors got right.
The plot itself, however, is somewhat predictable, and nothing really too shocking ever occurs. In fact, readers expecting things to be tied up completely at the end will be in for the biggest surprise, as Tier One was written as the first of a three-part story focusing on Dempsey’s fight against VEVAK, the Iranian’s intelligence agency. The follow-up, War Shadows, is said to be all set for a 2017 release.
With a premium on action and authenticity, Tier One is a no-frills, action-packed adventure in the vein of Dalton Fury’s Kolt Raynor series with a little bit of a Lone Survivor feel to it.
Author: Brian Andrews and Jeffery Wilson
Pages: 388 (Paperback)
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Release Date: September 1st, 2016 (Order now!)